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Source: PACUSA via El Taller International - Tunis


Lundi, 23 mai 2009 - 13 h 30

Monday 25 May 2009


Land Theft/Destruction

Jews, Bedouins protest Negev evacuation
Hundreds demonstrate against plans to evacuate members of Tarabin tribe from homes to make way for New Omer neighborhood, carry signs saying ’We are residents of the Negev too’ and ’Shame on the police’.

Palestinians protest annexation of East Jerusalem
On Thursday 21st of May, a group Israeli and International activists staged a protest contesting the celebration of Jerusalem day, which marks Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Activists held placards showing support for the persecuted Palestinian population of occupied East Jerusalem as right-wing Israelis marched by on their route from the West to the East of the city. The protest caused anger amongst the marchers and they repeatedly attempted to take the banners and rip them. The police arrived and forced the protest back, and away from the march, by physically pushing the activists.

Israel destroying Gaza’s farmlands
On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza’s eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees. Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Eva Bartlett reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Settlers burn barley harvest belonging to Nablus-area farmer
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli settlers from the illegal Yitzhar settlement south of Nablus set fire to bales of harvested barley in a large field owned by a Nablus farmer Friday morning.

Attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians and property on rise in West Bank, crops set on fire
Nablus / PNN – Israel settlers infiltrated the southern Nablus town of Burin this morning and set fire to 20 acres planted with a barley crop. The agricultural land is owned by local farmers who report that Israeli settlers also set fire to homes.
Raja Muhammad, Abu Ammar, said today that the same settlers that came from Itshar Settlement at dawn today to burn crops set fire to his home three days ago leading to its full destruction.

Settlers begin rebuilding Maoz Esther
Six hours after security forces evacuate West Bank outpost, youths return vowing to make it larger.

God is stronger than Obama, say Israeli settlers defying bulldozers
James Hider - The Times - "In Maoz Esther, no one from the outpost was arrested when security forces moved in with a digger to destroy the half dozen jerry-built homes and a shrine on a hillside. Standing among washing machines, furniture and holy books that the settlers removed before the bulldozers moved in, the MP Michael Ben Ari of the National Union party helped to rebuild one of the destroyed wooden homes"

Why Israel’s ’natural growth’ claim is dishonest: Four reasons
In an interview with Al-Jazeera Tuesday, Secretary Clinton unequivocally called on Israel to halt all construction activity connected with its settlement project in the occupied West Bank.

Attacks, Aggression and Siege Related Deaths
Ten Palestinians Wounded In West Bank Protests - Medics
BILIN (AFP)—Ten Palestinians were wounded Friday when Israeli security forces opened fire on demonstrators protesting Israel’s separation barrier in the occupied West Bank, medics said. In the village of Nilin, five demonstrators were wounded, including one who was shot in the leg and another who was hit in the head by a tear gas grenade.

Palestine: Ni’lin demonstrator transferred to Ramallah hospital after being shot in the head with a tear gas projectile
2:30pm: Mustafa Amira, a 20-year-old demonstrator from the village of Ni’lin, was transferred to a Ramallah hospital today after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear gas projectile during the weekly village protest against Israel’s Apartheid Wall. Mustafa was shot from a distance of about ten meters on the outskirts of the village. The impact of the projectile caused him to fall, hitting his head on the rocky terrain.

Eight injured in military attack on weekly protest in Nil’in
Israeli soldiers on Friday attacked Palestinian and international peace activists holding the weekly non-violent protest against the Wall in Ni’lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Bil’in: three injured and dozens suffered teargas inhalation at weekly protest
Residents of Bil’in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah marched on Friday after midday prayer in the weekly protest. They were joined by international and Israelis activists.

Two Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip
The Israeli army reported on Friday morning that its soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians near the Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) Crossing, in the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian electrocuted to death inside a tunnel southern Gaza
Gaza May 22, 2009 (Ramattan) - A Palestinian citizen was electrocuted to death, Friday morning, inside a tunnel under the borderline between Egypt and Gaza, Palestinian medical sources said.

Israeli extremists attack vehicles, stores in East Jerusalem
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli extremists smashed dozens of storefront windows and lights on several streets in East Jerusalem on Thursday night, apparently while police looked on and did nothing.

Palestinians: Settlers torched grain bags; police: No complaint filed
Palestinian sources say settlers from Yitzhar burned down dozens of grain bags belonging to a farmer in a nearby Palestinian village. PA fire fighters say they spotted the flames but were scared to approach the site for fear of being hurt by settlers.

Israeli navy shoots at Gazan fishermen, no injuries
Gaza May 22, 2009 (Ramattan) – Israeli gunboats opened heavy fire at Palestinian fishermen in the northern coast of the Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian security sources said.

B’Tselem and ACRI demand investigation of officers who testified to a policy of routine use of violence against Palestinian civilians
Following an item published on 15 May on the NRG website, B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel have called on the chief of staff and the judge advocate general to order a Military Police investigation. The item, "A Blow is Sometimes an Integral Part of the Mission," by Roi Sharon, presented segments of the testimonies of Col. Itai Virob, commander of Kfir Brigade, and of Lt. Col. Shimon, commander of Shimshon Battalion, before a military court, which painted a harsh picture of deliberate use of violence against Palestinians.


Israeli forces arrest 6 Palestinians in West Bank
May 22, 2009 (Ramattan) – The Israeli army arrested on Friday morning six Palestinian citizens in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said.

War Crimes

PCHR : Spain, do not give in to pressure
PCHR call on lawyers, human rights organizations, civil society, and all concerned parties, to combat any proposed amendment to the law, and to fight to ensure that the interests of justice, and the rights of victims, are upheld. The constitutionality of any proposed amendment to the law will be challenged.

Humanitiarian Issues

OPT: Protection of civilians weekly report, 13 - 19 May 2009

PCHR Weekly Report: 12 Palestinians, including 5 children, injured by Israeli forces this week
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 14 - 20 May 2009, 11 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and one woman, were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank. A Palestinian resistance fighter and a farmer were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces forced a Palestinian civilian to demolish his house. The Israeli judiciary ordered the evacuation of a number of Palestinian homes, which will render at least 70 civilians homeless.

ISRAEL-OPT: Military are contaminating water sources - Environment Ministry
TEL AVIV Friday, May 22, 2009 (IRIN) - Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bases in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and Israel are contaminating land and water sources, says a letter addressed to Maj-Gen Gadi Shamni, commander-in-chief of the central command in Israel.

Palestinian Retaliation
PFLP: our fighters burned an Israeli military vehicle
GAZA, May 22, 2009, (Ramattan)- Palestinian leftist group said that it has targeted an Israeli military jeep and clashed with Israeli soldiers east of the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Arab Collaborators

Six Palestinians lightly hurt as Egyptian army destroys tunnel
Six Palestinians were wounded when the Egyptian military destroyed a tunnel on the Gaza-Egypt border, Army Radio reported Thursday evening. All six were lightly injured, and taken for treatment in a hospital in Rafah.

Hope Convoy continues to wait for access to Egyptian port
Gaza – Ma’an – The ship holding the European “Al-Amal” convoy of Gaza donations continues to wait for access to Port Sa’id harbor Thursday evening. Coordinator of the campaign Rami Abdo said the cargo would be transferred from Port Sa’id to the Rafah crossing directly, and could make it as early as Saturday if no obstacles are met.

King Abdullah’s 57-State Solution
"What we are talking about is not Israelis and Palestinians sitting at the table, but Israelis sitting with Palestinians, Israelis sitting with Syrians, Israelis sitting with Lebanese. And with the Arabs and the Muslim world lined up to open direct negotiations with Israelis at the same time. So it’s the work that needs to be done over the next couple of months that has a regional answer to this – that is not a two-state solution, it is a 57-state solution.

Political Developments

Senior PLO official denounces new Palestinian government
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s political department, Faruq Al-Qadumi, said on Thursday that he would not recognize the new government headed by Salam Fayyad. Al-Qadumi described the government’s forming as "an absurd procedure" in an interview with the Tunisian online news agency As-Sawab, adding that "members of the Palestinian Legislative Council affiliated with Fatah have been ignored, despite their previous protest for not being consulted on this issue."

Abbas rejects extension of PLC, presidential terms
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that he rejected a behind-the-scenes proposal to extend his term and that of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). He said in a speech at opening of the Fifth Conference of the General Union of the Palestinian Women in Ramallah, “I would say it openly that it was proposed to us to extend the dialogue … We will not accept an extension of the presidency, or of the PLC. We should seek the people’s judgment to go the ballot boxes.”

Why now? Analysts weigh in on the new government
Bethlehem - Ma’an Special – Political analysts generally saw Salam Fayyad’s new government as a positive step, but were split on the reasons behind the sudden declaration of a replacement caretaker government. Observers cited dictates from Cairo, the need to build confidence and the upcoming meeting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with US President Barack Obama as reasons behind the hasty cobbling together of a new Palestinian government.

A misbegotten government
The new Palestinian Authority (PA) government which was sworn in Ramallah Tuesday, 19 May, is another prescription for failure. Hence, one would exaggerate little by saying that the new cabinet will be a deformed replica of the previous government whose main task was confined to carrying out instructions and orders from the American “High Commissioner” in the West Bank , Gen. Keith Dyaton.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to visit Ottawa
AFP - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to visit Ottawa next week and meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, before going to Washington, his envoy said Thursday.

Netanyahu: Jerusalem to stay Israeli and undivided
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Thursday that all of Jerusalem would always remain under Israeli sovereignty, in comments likely to arouse consternation among Palestinians who hope to make the city the capital of a future state.

Senators urge Obama to mind risks in two-state solution
A Majority of 76 Senators urged President Barack Obama Tuesday to advance Middle East peace talks while minding the "risks" Israel faces in any future peace accord.

Obama demands that Israel stop settlements. How feasible is that?
The Christian Science Monitor - This week, US President Barack Obama conveyed a clear message to his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu: the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank must stop.

France: Jerusalem should be capital of two states
France accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of prejudicing the outcome of the Middle East peace process by declaring that Jerusalem would forever be Israel’s undivided capital.

France slams Netanyahu’s Jerusalem ’forever’ vow
AFP - France accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of prejudicing the outcome of the Middle East peace process by declaring that Jerusalem would forever be Israel’s undivided capital.

Max Blumenthal reporting from Palestine (includes must watch videos!)

Max Blumenthal: Bibi’s Big Problem
Part Two from Max Blumenthal focuses on the Israeli settlement enterprise in the West Bank. He visits the Balata refugee camp in Nablus and the Israeli settlement Ariel - the juxtaposition speaks for itself - and then the South Hebron Hills where settler outposts get a helping hand from the Israeli military. Note that Blumenthal focuses on the funding from Michael Milkin and Rev. John Hagee in Ariel, a topic we’ve followed on this site. It’s currently legal in the US to fund a rec center in Ariel or help send guns to settlers in Hebron, but nearly impossible to get humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Top Netanyahu Minister Uzi Landau Mingles with Fanatical Settlers at Moskowitz Prize for Zionism Ceremony
Max Blumenthal reporting from the occupied Palestinian territories: JERUSALEM — I just spent the evening in a small park overlooking occupied East Jerusalem at a gathering of the Israeli settlement movement’s most prominent figures. The settlers were there to cheer three of their leaders who would be presented with the Irving Moskowitz Prize for Zionism. Few of the ultra-religious attendees seemed aware that Moskowitz is a California casino baron who exploits cheap Mexican labor to fund the proliferation of radical settlements in the West Bank. None seemed to care. The fulfillment of Greater Israel, an ethnically cleansed Jewish homeland, was paramount.

Also: Max Blumenthal: How I Got Gassed in the West Bank

Other News

US keeps nuclear "don’t ask, don’t tell" -Israel aide
The U.S. administration of President Barack Obama will not force Israel to state publicly whether it has nuclear weapons, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

London: Israeli poster withdrawn after complaints
An Israeli tourism poster is being pulled from the London subway after the Syrian Embassy complained that the map on it appeared to show the Golan Heights and Palestinian territories within Israel’s boundaries, officials said Friday.

Settler acquitted in Nazi salute case
Hebron settler who chanted ’Heil Sharon’ during Gaza pullout acquitted by Jerusalem court.

"We need to come out of the closet and say that we are proud to be anti-Palestinian state."
Likud MK Danny Danon in support of the "Alternatives to the Two-State Outlook"conference that will be held this upcoming Tuesday.


The Smell of Paradise: Under pressure in Gaza: a reporter’s notebook, by Taghreed El-Khodary
It is 10:40 on a sunny and warm Saturday morning, and time for my walk through Gaza. I take a break from people’s chattering and from traffic noise and listen to my iPod. The streets are crowded, as they always are on the first day of the week. Despite the embargo, students, salesmen, taxi drivers, police—all have things to do. I am always fascinated by the human will to go on with life despite the absence of what most people understand as normal circumstances.

’Columbia Journalism Review’ joins list of publications outperforming ’The New Yorker’ on Gaza
I have a hobbyhorse I haven’t mounted: the failure of The New Yorker magazine, which helped shape liberal blue-state opposition to the Vietnam War, to say one word about Gaza. Yes, editor David Remnick said something about the onslaught in a comment back in January, noncommital. And a blogger at the New Yorker did some coverage, praising Jeffrey Goldberg, as I recall. But that’s pretty much it. There’s been no coverage of this central event in the life of the mind and our politics, let alone the lives of the Palestinians and of liberal American Jews agonizing about the soul of Israel.

A Matter of Trust: One story from Gaza and what it says about the coverage of Israel
On Thursday morning, March 19, Israelis woke to find a story on the front pages of two leading daily newspapers that either rattled their self-image as citizens of a decent, ethical, Jewish state—or gave aid and comfort to the state’s enemies, depending on your point of view. The story was about a group of combat soldiers who, at a gathering a month earlier, had described Israeli army abuses during the just-ended Gaza incursion. Israel had been fighting nonstop accusations of atrocities in Gaza since the shooting ceased January 19. The publication of the soldiers’ accounts promised to be a huge embarrassment.


CodePink to deliver playground equipment to Gaza
Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - CodePink’s San Francisco Bay-area chapter will head to Gaza with 15,000 US dollars of playground equipment, school supplies and toys for children, the group announced Thursday. The trip is the second this year for CodePink, which travelled to the Strip in the days immediately following the Israeli war on the area in December and January.

Sacramento, California: British MP George Galloway to Speak Out on Gaza, War Friday
George Galloway – a member of the British Parliament (MP) and outspoken and controversial critic of U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and the Middle East – will make a special appearance here Friday.

Rafeef Ziadah, "Freedom of Expression and Palestine Advocacy"
The first few months of 2009 have seen a concerted campaign to shut down Palestine advocacy in Canada. Such examples include: * cutting funding to the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) due to the organization’s outspoken criticism of the government during the war in Gaza; * banning posters for the annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) in several Ontario university campuses; and * a smear campaign against the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for daring to discuss the issue of an academic boycott of Israel.

’Unless the Bible is making stuff up,’ New Jersey Star-Ledger issues call for ethnic cleansing of Palestine
Former Newark Star-Ledger reporter and now evangelical Christian-blogger George Berkin on NJ.com, which is the Star-Ledger website: At first thought, it seems reasonable that the Palestinians, like other self-proclaimed "people," might want a homeland. But surely, there is plenty of room in Jordan, Syria, or several other Muslim lands where Palestinians may go to reside among their brethren....


One capital for two peoples
Haaretz - Editorial - According to data gathered by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, two-thirds of the Palestinians in the city live below the poverty line; more than one-third of their lands have been expropriated since 1967; since there are no approved plans, 160,000 of them are living in homes that were built without permits, and can expect demolition and eviction orders; tens of thousands live without proper sewage systems or regular water supplies; their sanitation conditions are inferior; and there are too few social workers to care for them and too many Border Policemen.

Birth of a settlement
Joseph Dana and Mairav Zonszein - Haaretz - "The settler movement is not as strong as it is portrayed in the Israeli and international media. Without the active and passive support of both the government and the armed forces, the settlers` efforts would be rendered useless. Without it being possible to freely document and expose these matters, Israel`s government will continue to use the image of the settlers as a cover for its own overt policy of support for settlement creation and maintenance in the West Bank"

Don`t do us any favors
"Even when one is given the permit, this does not guarantee unlimited entry to the street. The potential driver is required to renew the permit frequently. Yet there is no possibility of renewing the permit before it expires, and while waiting for the renewed permit the vehicle owner is required to park his car away from his own street"

Obama and the Middle East
By virtually every measure—name, race, origins, and upbringing—Barack Hussein Obama was a revolutionary presidential candidate. In Mideast policy at least, there is little reason to imagine that he will be a revolutionary president.

What Kind of State?
Arab and Israeli commentators have pretty much outlined the speech Barack Obama will deliver in Egypt during his June visit, even though he is still meeting with the region’s leaders in Washington. While some are optimistic, many are fearful.

US aid to Israel is not part of the solution, it’s part of the problem
One of the many questions coming out the Obama/Netanyahu meeting this week is whether the Obama administration will actually use some of the leverage it holds over the Israeli government to exert pressure. The clearest example would be conditioning or withholding the nearly $3 billion in aid that the US gives Israel each year. Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, says that US aid to Israel not only possibly contravenes US law, but also undermines US foreign policy. From Ruebner’s oped "Rethinking the costs of peace" in the Detroit Free Press.

Azmi Bishara - The Subversion of Liberation
When leaders in struggle confuse themselves with recognition of the rights of the people they claim to defend, everyone suffers, including the national cause, writes Azmi Bishara.

"The next generation must continue our struggle"
Dr. Abdullah al-Hourani is a Palestinian politician and researcher based in the Gaza Strip. He is the director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for National Studies in Gaza and chairman of the Palestinian Popular Committee for the Defense of the Right to Return. On the occasion of the 61st aniversary of the disposession of Palestine, The Electronic Intifada correspondent Rami Almeghari interviewed Dr. al-Hourani at his Gaza City office.

The Israeli Murderer Who Eats Chocolate While Killing Children
After the return of the delegation of the Federation of Austrian-Arab Doctor from their visit to Gaza, where they could see the devastation and destruction left by the Israeli war machine during the so-called “Operation Cast Lead”, a meeting was held in Vienna where Dr. Tarek, who was in the delegation, told his colleagues about his observation in Gaza. He described his feelings during the visit in such awful words that they can not be described in an English language. He said, that he felt death inside him during his visit to Izbat Abed Rabbo, a small village of farmers near Beit Lahia in the north-east of Gaza Strip. He said that the smell of death was suffocating when he saw the ruins of a big house and the pieces of an ambulance buried under it. In the windows of ambulance he saw some pieces of clothes of the medical team which was killed inside the ambulance while trying to get out victims of the Israeli bombing.

Showing ’Cruel Racists’ Zero Tolerance
"Lucky we’re not in Gaza," I said to my surgeon last week, "or you wouldn’t have been able to fix my problem." I was lying in a hospital bed in England, thinking how many Palestinians suffer a similar illness but are cruelly denied treatment.

Pain and hope
Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish Izzeldin Abuelaish came to the world’s attention during the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip, when the respected obstetrician, holed up with his family in their home, gave daily interviews from the battle zone on Israeli television and radio.

Postcard from Ramallah

Few things are as monumentally ugly as the Israeli separation wall on Jerusalem’s edge. For miles and miles, it runs along stony hills and across valleys terraced with olive trees, cutting through towns and fields, cleaving families from their homes, farmers from their land. Its concrete slabs are more than 20 ft. high and crowned with coils of razor wire; the wind seems to blow every stray plastic bag in the Holy Land into its cold shadows. The Palestinians like to say, accurately or not, that the wall can be seen from outer space.

Gaza Disowned: The Pope, Israel and ’Reconciliation’

"Gaza is not on the Pope’s itinerary, nor will it be. There will be no change in these plans. But I’ll say it very clearly, the Pope is absolutely not going to Gaza." Such were the astounding comments made by the Pope’s spokesman in Israel, Wadie Abunasser, prior to Pope Benedict XVI visiting Palestine and Israel.